Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 70

When logging contractors assaulted myself and another conservationist back in 2008 in a violent outburst against our non-violent action, they were given merely 70 hours community service. When violent assaults take place daily against the forest and the animals who live there, no one is held accountable, there are no courts or sentences. No, none of the ‘criminals’ who destroy these ecosystems are put behind bars. Yet, when a committed conservationist takes peaceful action to bring attention to the destruction of our forests and he is locked in prison, it seems to me that there is something out of balance with our justice system.

Today Ali Alishah was sentenced to a three-month sentence for taking non-violent action in defense of Tasmania’s forests. Ali has already served 5 and a half weeks of this time behind bars, when he was denied bail in September last year. Tonight he will back in prison again, to serve another 6 weeks.

Ali was charged with breach of suspended sentence. And also given a further 3 month sentence suspended for two years on condition of good behaviour, for charges of trespass. Ali’s sentences are a result of his determined efforts to halt the destruction of Tasmania’s forest. He has no charges other than those that relate to such non-violent protest actions.

I have known Ali for a long time.  He is a respectful, well-spoken and intelligent person who has dedicated his life to protecting Tasmania’s precious environment. The actions that Ali took that have resulted in today’s sentence included protests at Ta Ann. These actions have highlighted the company’s ongoing role in the destruction of Tasmania’s high conservation value forest. Ali also took action at the site of Gunns Ltd pulp mill, a project that has extremely strong community opposition.

As Jenny Weber said today outside the court house:

“people will continue to stand up for Tasmania’s forests.Our non-violent direct action people have been continuing in the forests, at Ta Ann’s offices and in a number of different ways while Ali’s been awaiting his sentence and we will continue to protest that the ongoing logging of high conservation value forests is unacceptable.”

Until Tasmania’s precious native forests stop falling we will not be deterred by imprisonment, nor threats of violence towards us, nor letters from Lara Giddings, not threats from the Legislative Council to withhold passing environmental legislation if we don’t keep quiet, none of it will deter the people of Tasmania who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that the forests are protected for all of us. Because these forests are too precious, too unique, too irreplaceable for us to just walk away and let them be lost forever.

We could be so close to seeing protection for Tasmainia’s forests, yet they continue to fall as rapidly as ever. We need to be speaking up and speaking out. We need to make sure the government is accountable for their broken promises and Ta Ann is accountable for their lies and misleading marketing, No, we will not be deterred, because we have the whole world behind us, calling for these forest to be protected. Inspired by last weeks action that saw over 70 actions across 15 countries all calling for Tasmania’s forests to be protected, we will continue to speak up for these forests. And over the next six weeks, while Ali is held in a prison cell, we will continue to speak out even louder!

Please support Ali while he is inside. Prison is not an easy place to spend time and he would benefit from your support. Details coming soon of how you can get a message of support to him. In the meantime please check out and “like” the support Ali Alishah Facebook page.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if when Ali is let out of Risdon Prison in 6 weeks I could meet him at the gate? That could happen if  Julia Gillard and Lara Giddings honored their promises and Ta Ann also made the committment to transition out of native forests. Lets keep this campaign going loud and strong and see if we can’t that make a reality. I’m sure Ali would consider it a great way to show support for his efforts!

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Posted on February 22, 2012, in Daily Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I really hope you can meet him at the gate, Miranda. xx

  2. I am sad that mainstream Australians daily watching and listening to mainstream media, are oblivious to an Australian incarcerated in Risdon Prison for defending Tasmanian/Australian/ecological heritage rights.

    It is as if ‘mainstream’ is just ‘corporate’ and that ‘corporate media justice’ equated to that in Syria – ignored and complicit in condoning in grave injustice.

    What a backward regime Lara Giddings has allowed.
    A woman who has probably never touched an old Tasmanian tree, let alone stand witness and culpable while it fell.

    In 2009, I stayed at the stately commandant’s house overseeing Tasmania’s Queenstown’s copper memory and ecological legacy. The view of ruination from that massive master bedroom window across the hills of forests long permanently acidified, i though was of an acidic past.

    It’s like when one thinks Nazism is of the past, then one reads of Rwanda and Bosnia genocides and realises that 20 year olds can commit their fathers’ massacres.

  3. Ali is a hero….and I agree the ‘justice’ system doesn’t make sense.

  4. (salaam Ali)

    Garry Stannus, Liffey
    10.10.11 3:00 am
    Image for مسالم علي (salaam Ali)

    مسالم علي

    (salaam Ali)
    In you we find our selves.
    Our humanity.
    Our vesper,
    Our evening air.
    Our refreshment.

    مسالم علي (salaam Ali)
    Our wonderful planet earth.
    Our rock revolving
    Our southern forests
    Our jewel Tasmania
    Our hope

    مسالم علي (salaam Ali)
    Forgive me
    I do not have your courage
    therefore
    I am free
    and you in prison

    مسالم علي (salaam Ali)
    tell me Ali, my brother,
    how must I write?
    My eyes glisten, my fingers pause
    tell me Ali
    what I can say?

    Ali, … salaam (علي مسالم)

    [Peace = Salaam].

  5. I really hope that someone can check on Ali daily.
    I awaited his public statement before ‘sentencing’ (read FT condemning), then I receive an email advising ‘postponement of the public statement due to unforeseen medical circumstances’, then I hear nothing.

    I am worried about Ali. Can someone please check on him?

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